The Psychodynamic Approach

  • Theorists adopting the psychodynamic approach hold that inner conflicts are crucial for understanding human behavior, including aggression. Sigmund Freud, for example, believed that aggressive impulses are inevitable reactions to the frustrations of daily life. Children normally desire to vent aggressive impulses on other people, including their parents, because even the most attentive parents cannot gratify all of their demands immediately. Yet children, also fearing their parents’ punishment and the loss of parental love, come to repress most aggressive impulses. The Freudian perspective, in a sense: sees us as “steam engines.” By holding in rather than venting “steam,” we set the stage for future explosions. Pent-up aggressive impulses demand outlets. They may be expressed toward parents in indirect ways such as destroying furniture, or they may be expressed toward strangers later in life.

    According to the paragraph, Freud believed that children experience conflict between a desire to vent aggression on their parents and

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